In The News

The animosity toward the Alumni Council came to a head in February 2021 following an article written by David Halperin, originally posted on the website RepublicReport.com.

 

The article identifies connections between Arthur Keiser, the Interim Campus President, Webber International University (WIU) and St. Andrews University (SAU).

 

Halperin also identifies a majority of WIU/SAU Trustees as associates or friends of Arthur Keiser, President of Keiser University in Florida and highlights the fact that no WIU/SAU trustees represent or are connected to St. Andrews.

 

Halperin has continued to update his story as developments have unfolded.  

The For-Profit College Conversion to Non-Profit

As concerned alumni, we are carefully monitoring the debate over for-profit college conversions to non-profit. We believe that Arthur Keiser is planning to convert the for-profit Southeastern into Webber/St. Andrews. Keiser is a veteran of such conversions. In 2011, he converted Keiser University into a non-profit thanks to Everglades College absorbing Keiser University.

As David Halperin pointed out in his February article, "It’s possible Keiser may be planning a reprise of the controversial deal he did to convert Keiser University: sell a for-profit school, in this case Southeastern, to a non-profit, Webber/St. Andrews, on terms that strongly benefit the Keisers, and then allow for-profit businesses operated by the Keisers to rent buildings and sell goods and services to the non-profit school.
 

Absorbing Southeastern into Webber/St. Andrews would also upgrade that Keiser school from oversight by the national accreditor ACCSC to the more prestigious regional accreditor Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission (SACS), which also oversees Keiser University.

 

These conversion deals, pioneered by Keiser and others, and pursued by predatory for-profit operations including KaplanBridgepointDream Center, and CEHE, have allowed for-profit barons to obtain coveted non-profit status and benefits, and escape the stigma and regulations that the for-profit college industry provoked with its bad behavior, while still making big money."

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The For-Profit Business Model

Learning what we have in recent months, it's becoming clear to us that many of the ongoing practices at St. Andrews are very similar to how a for-profit college operates.

 

As the Century Foundation describes, "It is now widely acknowledged that many for-profit colleges engaged in unsavory practices to maintain the flow of taxpayer dollars. By marketing to veterans and low-income students eligible for the maximum amount of federal financial aid, owners grew their schools rapidly, while overcharging and under-delivering along the way. In many cases, these schools were less than honest about the value of the degrees they were awarding, and the likelihood they would lead to jobs. Some used manipulative sales tactics, hired unqualified faculty, enrolled unprepared students, and hid their misdeeds through forced arbitration clauses, all while leaving students with crushing student loan debts and school executives with bulging bank accounts."

Our fears are supported by the data found in the College Scorecard for St. Andrews, as well as the mounting debt noted in a recent Webber/St. Andrews University consolidated audit. In 2020, students associated with the two schools were $2.1M past due paying their student. This is a 75% increase in just four years. 

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About Arthur Keiser

In 2015, the New York Times wrote, "Consider Keiser University in Florida. In 2011, the Keiser family, the school's founder and owner, sold it to a tiny nonprofit called Everglades College, which it had created.

"As president of Everglades, Arthur Keiser earned a salary of nearly $856,000, more than his counterpart at Harvard . . . . He is receiving payments and interest on more than $321 million he lent the tax-exempt nonprofit so that it could buy his university.

"And he has ownership interest in properties that the college pays $14.6 million in rent for, as well as a stake in the charter airplane that the college's managers fly in and the Holiday Inn where its employees stay, the returns show. A family member also has an ownership in the computer company the college uses."

As alumni, we fear this pattern is repeating itself with the relationship with St. Andrews and Keiser's for-profit Southeastern College, now host of St. Andrews' newly announced satellite campuses in Charlotte (NC), Columbia (SC), and Charleston (SC). 

The Century Foundation's Yan Cao is also watching this relationship. In an April 2021 congressional hearing she called Keiser's connection to St. Andrews a "hostile takeover."

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